Loss of hearing isn’t simply a problem for older people, despite the common belief. While age is a reliable predictor of hearing loss, as a whole hearing loss has been on the rise. Hearing loss remains at around 14-16% among adults 20 to 69 years old. World wide, more than 1 billion people between the ages of 12-35 are in danger of developing hearing loss, according to the united nations and The World Health Organization. In children between 6 and 19, around 15% already have loss of hearing according to the CDC, and the number appears to be closer to 17% according to more recent research. Other reports state that hearing loss is up 30% in teenagers over just a decade ago. Johns Hopkins performed a study predicting that by 2060 over 73 million people 65 or older will have hearing loss. Over current numbers, that’s a staggering number.
We Are Getting Hearing Loss at a Younger Age, Why?
We usually consider hearing loss as a side effect of aging because it would progress slowly over years unless you spent extended amounts of time in a noisy setting. That’s the reason why you aren’t surprised when your grandmother uses a hearing aid. But at a younger and younger age, our hearing is being effected by changes of ways of life.
Technology, and smartphones, in particular, can have a significant impact on our hearing. Whether you’re talking to friends, listening to tunes, or watching movies, we are doing all the things we love to do and wearing earbuds for all of it. The issue is that we have no clue how loud (and for how long) is harmful to our ears. Instead of doing our best to protect our ears, we even regularly use earbuds to drown out loud noise, voluntarily subjecting our ears to hazardous noise levels.
Gradually, an entire generation of young people are harming their ears. That’s a huge concern, one that’s going to cost billions of dollars in treatment and loss of productivity in the economy.
Loss of hearing is Not Well Understood
Even young kids are usually wise enough to stay away from incredibly loud noises. But the nature of hearing damage isn’t generally understood. It’s not commonly known that over longer time periods, even moderate sound levels can damage hearing.
Needless to say, the majority of people around the world, especially young people, aren’t really concerned about the hazards of hearing loss because they think that it’s only an aging problem.
However, the WHO says irreversible ear damage may be occurring in those in this 12-35 age group.
Solutions And Suggestions
The problem is especially widespread because so many of us are using smart devices on a regular basis. That’s why many hearing specialists have suggested solutions that focus on providing mobile device users with additional information:
- Built-in parental settings that allow parents to more closely monitor volume and adjust for hearing health.
- Warnings about high volume.
- Warnings when you listen too long at a high decibel level (it’s not simply the volume of a sound that can lead to damage it’s how long the noise persists).
And that’s just the start. Paying more attention to the health of our hearing, many technological possibilities exist.
Turn Down The Volume
The most important way to minimize injury to your ears is to reduce the volume of your mobile device. Whether your 15, 35, or 70, that holds true.
Let’s face it, smartphones aren’t going anywhere. Everyone uses them all the time, not just kids. So we’ve got to come to terms with the fact that hearing loss is no longer linked to aging, it’s associated with technology.
That means the way we prevent, treat, and talk about hearing loss has to change.
You should also try downloading an app that measures decibel levels in your environment. 2 steps to protect your hearing. Making certain not to attempt to drown out loud noises with even louder noises and of course wearing ear protection. For instance, if you drive with your windows down, don’t crank up the music to hear it better, the noise from the wind and traffic may already be at damaging levels. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist if you have any questions.